COURSE DESCRIPTION:?As a general introduction to the academic study of religion, REL 100 examines the function
of religion in relation to human beliefs, social practices, and culture in general. The course surveys a broad
number of important debates in the history of religious studies, such as the definition of religion, the
insider/outsider problem, theories on the origins of religions, the comparision of religious, religion’s
psychological, sociological, and political functions, and the manner in which human communities authorize
systems of behavior. Fulfills the General Education Requirement.??Course Topical Outline ?Schedule of Readings
and Assignments, with links to Readings ?Note: All readings are accessed from links on this Course Topical
Outline (Schedule of Readings and Assignments, with links to Readings), below.?To access the readings,
you will need to log in with:?UserName: coker
Note: to read the readings, you will need a .pdf reader.?For Windows Users, I highly recommend either Acrobat
Reader (which can be downloaded and installed from http://get.adobe.com/reader/ ) or Sumatra PDF (which can be
downloaded and installed from http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/download-free-pdf-viewer.html )?
For MacIntosh Users, download and install Adobe Reader for Mac (which can be downloaded and installed from
REL 100: Introduction to the Study of Religions?Questions for Exam 1 (Regular)
?Choose any ONE of the following two questions to write on. Your answers will be essay answers, approximately
3-4 double spaced pages long. Type your answer single-spaced in your word processor, saving it as a Word
.docx or .doc file, or if that is not possible, save it as an .rtf (Rich Text Format) file. Submit your exam
as an Inline submission to the Assignment by no later than Monday, February 24 by 10:00 a.m. Your essay is NOT
a paper: you do not need to use citations or to have a bibliography. However, if you quote from any of the
sources, put what you quote in quotation marks.
1. One of the Readings in Week 2 that I included as a Reading for a possible question on Exam 1 was Bickel, If
God Exists Why Doesn’t He Prove It. This reading is about Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard’s defense of Christianity
is a kind of ‘bridge’ between Feuerbach’s critique of Christianity and Barth’s defense of Christianity. Set
out Feuerbach’s critique of Christianity, and Kierkegaard’s and Barth’s defenses of Christianity.
Furthermore, as part of Kierkegaard’s and Barth’s defenses of Christianity, they seem to concede to Feuerbach
that rational Christology (i.e., rational proof or justification for the belief that Christ was both human and
God) is untenable. Have Kierkegaard and Barthes conceded too much to Feuerbach???
2. Read both Southwold on Buddhism and also Buddhist Beliefs About God and Gods. Is Buddhism as described in
these readings open to Xenophanes’ and Feuerbach’s critiques of religion? Does Buddhism fit any of the
definitions of “religion” in Leube and Smith? If so, identify which definition or definitions it fits and
explain why it fits it or them.
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